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You may remember, or not, a couple of weeks ago I posted mine & Sophie’s outings to Mog on the Tyne and  Newcastle Cathedral.  We also visited Newcastle Castle & The Black Gate that day, so I thought I’d get part 1 done, as there’s still lots of Newcastle photo’s to come, I love it there.

As always, buckle’s

The History Bit

The castle is a medieval fortification, built on the original site of a Roman Fort (Pons Aelius (dat’s latin 🙂 ) guarding a bridge over the River Tyne. The most prominent remaining structures on the site are the Castle Keep, the castle’s main fortified stone tower, and the Black Gate, its fortified gatehouse. Now, Pons Aelius means Bridge of Aelius, and Aelius was the family name of that great Emperor Hadrian who also built a wall across the North of England to keep the pesky Scottish people at bay.

The anglo-saxons named the place Monkchester, (week! sounds too much like Manchester to me!) and then later on in 1080 the Norman king William 1st’s son Robert Curthose came charging up to defend us from those wee scots, and when he’d sorted them out he moved to Monkchester and started building a New Castle (geddit? 🙂 ) n 1095, the Earl of Northumbria, Robert de Mowbray, rose up against William Rufus and Rufus sent an army north to crush the revolt and to capture the castle. From then on the castle became crown property and was an important base from which the king could control the northern barons. It was a motte & bailey castle so didn’t last that long I guess.

So Henry II replaced it with a rectangular stone keep, which was built between 1172 and 1177 at a cost of £1,444. A stone bailey, in the form of a triangle, replaced the previous wooden one. The master mason or architect, Maurice, also built Dover Castle. The great outer gateway to the castle, called ‘the Black Gate’, was built later, between 1247 and 1250, in the reign of Henry III.

In 1643, during the English civil war, the Royalist Mayor of Newcastle, Sir John Marley, repaired the keep and probably also refortified the castle. In 1644 the Scottish army crossed the border in support of the Parliamentarians and the Scottish troops besieged Newcastle for three months until the garrison surrendered. But we get on well with the Scots for all that. Except at footy matches. The town walls were extensively damaged and the final forces to surrender on 19 October 1644 did so from the Castle keep.

During the 16th to the 18th century, the keep was used as a prison. During the siege, the Scots bombarded the walls with their artillery. The Scottish commander threatened to destroy the steeple of St Nicholas Church nearby by gunfire if the mayor, Sir John Marley, did not surrender the town. The mayor responded by placing Scottish prisoners that they had captured in the steeple, so saving it from destruction. Take that!

The “Black Gate” was added to Newcastle Castle between 1247 and 1250, forming an additional barbican in front of the earlier north gate of the castle. It consisted of two towers with a passage running between them. On either side of the passage was a vaulted guardroom. There was a drawbridge at the front (facing west) and another at the rear. There was also a portcullis which could be raised and lowered to seal the entrance passage.

In 1618 James 1 leased the gatehouse to a courtier, Alexander Stephenson. Stephenson substantially altered the gatehouse, rebuilding the upper floors. Stephenson then let the Black Gate out to various tenants, one of whom was a merchant, named Patrick Black. It was he who gave his name to the Black Gate.

Eventually houses were built along both sides of the passageway, and one part of the building became a public house. By the early part of the nineteenth century, the Black Gate had become a slum tenement, housing up to sixty people. Info from wiki.

So now you are edumacated, lets do the pics.

The Black Gate plaque

The Black Gate plaque

The Black Gate

The Black Gate

Looking at the castle from the Black Gate

Looking at the castle from the Black Gate

Stones of History

Stones of History

Ncle Cast-13


This next shot got me thinking.. if you had legs long enough to take those giant steps, how would you get out of that window??

a conundrum

a conundrum

The Chapel

The Chapel

This is the entrance to the Royal Chapel of the castle and is one of the finest surviving examples of Norman decorative stone carving in England. This chapel was reserved for royalty, & when the king wasn’t in residence, the priest would pray for the souls of the Royal Family.

Norman stone carving, ceiling

Norman stone carving, ceiling

Ncle Cast-15

a WTF?

a WTF? for historians.

windows and walls

windows and walls

It always amazes me how thick they built the walls.


Graffiti prisoners

Graffiti prisoner ~ Thomas Cuthbert

When the Scottish prisoners were held in the castle, some of them carved their names into the walls. Thomas Cuthbert’s name, still easy to see after 372 years. Wonder if he got put in the steeple? 🙂

So part 2 to follow soon, but that’s enough for now,

laters gaters



15 comments on “The Newcastle Castle report ~ part 1

  1. kmSalvatore says:

    Lol.. Fraggy always so much fun the read your Hisory And see those pics. I really enjoy it!! It boggles my mind to think all those movies I saw as s kid.. To think they are real places . I think , probably like most Americans, who have never Jumped the pond.. It’s hard to fathom all that History , and that it’s still all standing . Thanks for sharing 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always enthralled with the history of our old buildings 😊 can’t wait till I retire and do the whole of Britain!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jay says:

    Love these, especially the second one, and the way the couple is framed in that doorway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Jay, they were a cute couple.:)


  3. Francis.R. says:

    Quite exciting history of politics and strategy. I read England History and it was nice to remember the stories of invasions, wars, and tensions with the north and across the sea.
    I don’t know what could be a dodecahedron (perhaps part of a lesson of platonic solids for artists?) and certainly I hope it’s not a sort of soap holder, but certainly it’s quite beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Francis, the dodecahedron was fascinating, strange we know so much of Roman times but this little piece of their history eludes us.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the edumacation!you always get so much across in a few short words and the photos arecof course wonderful. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My guess for the dodecahedron is that it was a torch holder. You can place a torch straight or in different angles into this very flexible holder. Thanks for the historical journey and excellent images of awesome Newcastle. As always worth to read and view.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a fab guess! I’d go for that. 😊


  6. melissajane14 says:

    Great stories and photos 🙂 I’m looking forward to part 2…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Melissa 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. lolabees says:

    Regarding the thick walls… they don’t build ’em like they used to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No it would cost a fortune! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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